Inevitably, there are days that aren’t good, no matter what I do. There’s usually no specific reason, though sometimes it’s an accumulation of things, little bits of information and tiny injustices that finally send me running for the solace of my bed, under a fluffy blanket, a stack of books and magazines and my tv remote nearby. My first reaction to these days is guilt – what do I have to feel so down about? What is wrong with me, that I can let things get to me this way? And then I remember – I’m human. This is just the way I am. I put the guilt aside and hibernate, fortunate that my husband and family and closest of friends accept this about me – though they may not always understand.
I think about those who may get down like I do but don’t have the luxury of hiding from the world for a day or two and feel such sympathy for them, because for me, shutting down is the only way to reset my on/off button and find a way to climb out of whatever pit I’ve fallen into. I know others deal with their dark moments in different ways than I do – some never stop doing, going, planning, working, just to keep from letting the clouds roll in. Some have a few glasses of wine, no matter the hour, and call it a day. Some call a friend, talk it out, and move on. There are those who never get this way at all, and they are the ones who mystify me – how do they manage to stay on an even keel, all the time? Many find God and religion to be a comfort – the closest I’ve come to that is a bowl of matzo ball soup.
I hibernate, hunker down, and just disappear, and you know, it feels good. Because I need this time, these hours of quiet and reflection, just to understand why things are the way they are, and think about everything – and there’s a lot to think about at midlife – a lot to remember, a lot to understand, and a lot to let go from my mind. So much of what happens to us happens so quickly, so swiftly, and we are so busy living it that we don’t really experience it until later on. Sometimes all it takes is a song on the radio or a line in a movie to send me skittering down the road to what was, and suddenly understanding what a particular moment really meant in my life – and that’s when it hits me. People are gone from our lives, moments can’t be recaptured, choices made can’t be undone. The happiest of memories can be the worst, sometimes – the longing for a feeling that once was, that’s no longer there – but as I come out of my cocoon, I always come back to this – there’s more ahead. There are days that I cannot imagine, experiences that I have no conception of at this point in time. And that’s what makes it all worth the effort – the possibilities. That’s when I throw off the fluffy blanket and get myself up and moving. It’s wanting to see what comes next that keeps me from burrowing too far down.
I hibernate to rejuvenate. I hide out so I can come back stronger. It’s what I do.